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Slain Stripper had Bad Karma, Man

NY- Paul Cortez – the No. 1 suspect in the slaying of stripper Catherine Woods – told an Indian guru he was concerned about the “bad energy” surrounding his estranged lover and that he wanted to help her out of her “negative situation.”

He said it in front of a roomful of people on a spiritual retreat just weeks before the 21-year-old beauty was found nearly decapitated in her Upper East Side apartment on Nov. 27.

Cortez, 25, attended the weekend retreat, known in Sanskrit as a satsang – or “gathering for truth” – with about 15 others at a private home upstate.

The group was seeking enlightenment with a holy man from India, who has since returned home.

During a group discussion, Cortez said he was “having problems” with Woods, said Curt DeGroat, his friend who also attended the retreat.

“Paul said he was in love with Catherine but she was involved in a ‘negative situation’ and had ‘bad energy’ around her,” he said.

Woods moved to New York in 2001 with aspirations of dancing on Broadway. Instead, she wound up performing at strip clubs – unbeknownst to her family back home in Columbus, Ohio.

She was buried there on Friday.

Her live-in boyfriend, fellow Ohio native David Haughn, did not attend the service because he feared his presence might be too distracting, according to the Columbus Dispatch.

Haughn was questioned extensively by the NYPD, but has been cooperating, sources said.

Woods met Cortez last year at a gym where he worked as a yoga instructor.

When the guru told Cortez to bring Woods to a yoga center for “healing,” Cortez replied that she’s “not into it,” DeGroat said.

But a note on her kitchen calendar reportedly shows she had an appointment the same day she was murdered at a “10:45 a.m. service, 324 Lafayette St., 7th Fl., Yoga Center.”

That’s the address of the Creative Light Church, where yoga classes are held Sundays at 10:45 a.m.

Creative Light Church is a California-based sect that emphasizes positive thinking for health and success.

Staffers at the church told The Post they do not know Woods or Cortez.

Cortez, who was raised by his mother in The Bronx, attended Poly Prep County Day School, where he had “so many extracurricular activities that other kids teased him,” said classmate Cinque McKetty.

Last year, Cortez and pal Alex Rude co-founded a band called Monolith, in which Cortez sings lead vocals.

“Paul is able to produce both blistering highs and hypnotic, entrancing lows,” the group’s Web site says. “His onstage presence can be described as nothing less than raw delirium.”


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